Staurt Baxter explains interest in Mark Fish as Bafana Bafana assistant


Bafana Bafana coach Stuart Baxter has explained the reason why he would prefer having Mark Fish as an opposition analyst rather than a qualified coach at AFCON.

Baxter on Thursday announced his plans for the national team leading up to the much-anticipated Africa Cup of Nations in Egypt next month and revealed interest in a second assistant coach.

After declaring the unavailability of Quinton Fortune, he further went on to announce that talks are ongoing regarding roping 1996 AFCON legend Mark Fish into the setup instead.

However, this drew plenty of criticism from the onset, with Baxter being prompted to explain his thinking behind this sort of decision.

“Mark’s not a coach, but he’s a very experienced football person, and if he can understand what I’m looking for … Because, when I send anybody to monitor a team for me, they’re only looking at maybe five things,” explained Baxter.

“I don’t want to know how the left-back laces his boots. What we need to know is how do they attack on transition? How do they attack when we’re compact, and they’ve got to break us down – what’s their preference?

“How do they defend on transition and how do they defend when we have the ball with our goalkeeper, and they have to get their team organised? The speed of their transition – give me a mark out of 10?

“I just need to know that, and the set plays we can analyse on a DVD, but when you’re there and you look at that, tell me how do they do it? Now, I think Mark is more than capable.

“I think having a coach [do that], he would be overqualified. If I take the best scout – Barcelona’s scout, for example, I’m guessing he couldn’t coach Barcelona, honestly.

“So, we don’t want to over-qualify [the position], and the other thing is I don’t want to have to go to a coach and say, ‘Listen, will you go scout for me?’ Personally, I would find that a little embarrassing, and the coach would probably go, ‘Let me see … Go stuff yourself!’

“If I went to Rhulani and [asked him to do that job], you know, I’m sure he wouldn’t say it straight out,  but he’d stand and think to himself, ‘Hey, I’ve done enough to warrant not needing to go and scout for you now, mate.’

“If Mark knows what we wants, I think he can do it, and at the same time I think there would be a little bit of friction [in the camp] if we got an overqualified person.”